Dame Helen Mirren was intimidated by Lawrence Olivier and John Gielgud when she began her career.

The 67-year-old actress who began her career in the late 60s when there was a hierarchy in the profession was scared of certain actors who were cast for lead roles and had made a name for themselves in the industry.

She said: ''When I came into the acting profession it was quite different, it was quiet hierarchical. You didn't sit at the same table as the leading actor.

''It was coming out of that 50s period. You know Lawrence Olivier, John Gielgud - these were very, very intimidating and powerful people.''

Helen has gone on to enjoy an incredible career and has won numerous awards including an Emmy, Golden Globe and a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in 'The Queen'.

Now she realises she can be intimidating to younger actors herself.

She told the new UK issue of OK! magazine: ''There were certain actors when I was young who were quite intimidating. They probably didn't mean to be, and maybe other people now look at me and go, 'Ooh she's scary,' but I really don't want to be or feel I am.''